Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reading Revelation Responsibly?

A friend inadvertently alerted me to Michael J. Gorman's Reading Revelation Responsibly. Here is one review of the book  And here's another.

Excerpt from the 2nd review:
This book is a very good hermeneutical guide to managing a difficult text well. Gorman capably debunks problematic readings like those of Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth and the very popular fiction series Left Behind with their sensationalized Armageddon and rapture focused readings. Gorman dismisses all the rapture readings, and develops a much more contextually sensitive reading. Historical situation and literary genre considerations (properly understood meanings of “apocalyptic”, theopoetic, and pastoral writings)  are explored to demonstrate the shortcomings of dispensational and the various other improper readings of Revelation.
Pardon my cynicism - all this from a book under (?) 200 pages?

I can hear (and somewhat empathize with) the frustration of the non-pretrib premils. I'd like to point out that the futurist-premil interpretation was out of favor long before Hal and Tim came along. I'm almost tempted to get the book as a reference, but I'm still trying to get my head around Osborne's "Hermeneutical Spiral."

As an unschooled layman, I can only express these frustrated observations: The Bible shouldn't be that hard to understand. It only becomes so when someone resorts to elaborate innovations to modify the plainer sense of the meaning of a text to conform to a presupposed theology.

Revelation can be difficult in areas, but its overall theme shouldn't be. It is prophetic and it reveals, not obfuscates. Its many allusions are drawn from the prophets and the Olivet Discourse.

I highly recommend Tony Garland's A Testimony of Jesus Christ (expanded Contents), and also Robert L Thomas' Two Volume Exegetical Commentary on Revelation. Each of these sources discuss the alternative views of Revelation.

Current Hermeneutical Trends: Toward Explanation or Obfuscation?


Here's another review of the book. Gorman typically attacks the "Left Behind" series. One isn't really engaging dispensationalism through "Left Behind" novels. In one preview I note that he also mentions Harold Camping's failed predictions. Camping was an amillennialist.

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